Film Review of the Movie the Breach Film Review

Excerpt from Film Review :


For a criminal investigator, analyzing key evidence is an important part in being able to establish a pattern of behavior for the suspect. The film the Breach, is discussing the Robert Hanssen case and its long-term impacts on U.S. national security. To fully understand how criminal investigators were able to catch him requires carefully examining the film. This will be accomplished by focusing on: the facts of the case, the parties involved, the victim's information, the suspects, the evidence, investigative mistakes, procedural errors, interview mistakes and the life of Robert Hanssen. Together, these different elements will highlight how a series of critical blunders led to one of the largest national security breaches in U.S. history.

The Facts of the Case

In the film, Eric O'Neal is assigned to work undercover as a clerk for Robert Hanssen. Set in the late 1990s, O'Neal's job is to keep an eye on Hanssen (who was recently called back to Washington to lead the FBI's Information Assurance division). However, beneath the surface, his superiors are concerned that he could be a double agent. This is because key U.S. assets inside critical intelligence centers (such as Russia) were disappearing. (Barkin, 2011, pp. 275 -- 277) ("Breach," 2010)

At the same time, Hanssen was living a lavish lifestyle that was beyond what he could afford from his salary with the FBI. This made some of the top officials, nervous that he could be a double agent. Yet, they did not have enough evidence to prove that he did anything wrong (especially given his long career). (Barkin, 2011, pp. 275 -- 277) ("Breach," 2010)

O'Neil's mission is to keep Hannssen busy, while agents search his car / office and plant listening devices. At the same time, the Director (who is personally leading the investigation) orders O'Neil to take Hannsen's Palm Pilot. Yet, as he works with Hanssen, O'Neil becomes close with him and begins to have a sense of respect for his ideas. This is when he learns that Hannssen believes the only people who are promoted in the FBI are the field agents (actively involved in major investigations). Anyone who is working counter intelligence is often ignored (despite the sacrifices they are making). Hanssen was angered by this sense of disrespect and soon told O'Neal about his double life. (Barkin, 2011, pp. 275 -- 277) ("Breach," 2010)

However, as the investigation continues the constant amounts of isolation and the radio in his car not working (from the bugs planted earlier) makes Hanssen think that the Russians are following him. This is when he decides that he will make one final drop. While Hannsen is at the location with the sensitive information, is when he is arrested by FBI agents. After Hanssen is taken into custody, O'Neil fails to receive the promotion he was promised and becomes disillusioned. This is when he leaves the FBI for a position in private security. (Barkin, 2011, pp. 275 -- 277) ("Breach," 2010)

The Parties Involved.

There are several parties involved in the investigation to include: O'Neil, the FBI upper management, Hannsen and the families. These areas are used to tell the story from a much larger perspective. This is what helps to provide better insights as to the motivations of Hanseen and the significance of his arrest. (Barkin, 2011, pp. 275 -- 277) ("Breach," 2010)

The Victim's Information.

In this case, the victim is the U.S. government and the secrets that were sold to the Russians. This is problematic, as the FBI will use the possibility of Hannsen facing the death penalty to disclose to them what he knows and the extent of his spying activities. (Barkin, 2011, pp. 275 -- 277) ("Breach," 2010)

The Suspects (Known and Unknown).

The known suspects are: Hannsen and his wife. The unknown suspects are: the Russian agents, the sloppy investigators (who allowed this to continue) and officials inside of the Russian government. (Barkin, 2011, pp. 275 -- 277) ("Breach," 2010)

The Federal Evidence.

The evidence that was collected against Hanssen include: secret classified documents in his possession (at the actual…

Sources Used in Document:


Breach. (2010). IMDB. Retrieved from:

Barkin, S. (2011). Fundamentals of Criminal Justice. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett.

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